Salford Health Improvement Service

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Using public health delivery to address poverty in Salford
By Angela Eden, Health Improvement Manager

Salford City CouncilIntroduction

Salford Health Improvement Service is a frontline, neighbourhood-based health and wellbeing service which delivers a range of community initiatives, courses and programmes to help people make behaviour changes.  Our core areas of work most often cover topics such as stop smoking, weight support, healthy eating, physical activity and mental health. Recently the service has worked closely with our partners within the City Council and voluntary sector to develop a strategic approach to targeting the Health Improvement resource to address the impact of poverty on residents in the city. This meant thinking about innovative ways of delivering the service.

There are 30 frontline staff with the Health Improvement Service who have strong networks and trusted relationships within the local communities in which they work. These staff have a long history of working ‘with’ residents to develop community initiatives that really matter to local people, and of successfully delivering services that bring about real changes to people’s lives.

Following a series of co-production workshops with frontline staff, key actions and tasks have been built into the Health Improvement Service’s existing delivery plans, to contribute towards the Salford Anti-Poverty Strategy.

Implementation of actions

Here are some examples of the initiatives that were delivered by the Health Improvement Service to support the delivery of the Anti-poverty Agenda:

  • The service ensured that all staff and volunteers received sufficient training to be able to provide basic key
    messages and referral to Welfare Rights and Debt Advice, Salford Assist, Affordable Warmth and Salford Credit Union. Key messages were built into all HIS community programmes in order to increase financial literacy within Salford.
  • The service used marketing on social media by including key messages about anti-poverty support services to reduce stigma and encourage members of the public to get in touch. This also included the promotion of free Wi-Fi zones throughout Salford. Awareness raising road shows with partners to place on estates with the highest levels of poverty improved access to the above-mentioned schemes. In addition, Health Improvement frontline staff delivered anti-poverty brief interventions when delivering workplace health programmes, particularly focussing on lower paid workforces.
  • The service worked in partnership with the Salford Food Share Network to deliver four ‘Cooking on a Budget’ and two ‘Positive You (confidence building)’ courses specifically for residents using Food Clubs.
  • All staff within the service have been encouraged to join the Salford Credit Union in order to support this valuable resource.
  • The service continues to work to harness the strength of local communities to lead community action to tackle poverty through frontline community development, as well as delivering and promoting activities in communities that provide an opportunity to eat together’ or ‘grow your own’.
  • The service has delivered a Winter Resilience outreach programme to proactively identify and support vulnerable older people who may be at risk of fuel poverty.
  • Health Improvement has worked with partners to create the Healthy Holiday Voucher Scheme for families who are eligible for Free School Meals. These families received a £30 Aldi voucher per child. In the first year the scheme reached over 40% of eligible families.Conclusion

    Agela Eden, using public health delivery to address poverty in Salford

    Angela Eden

    This project has been a useful example of how a service and staffing resource can be flexed to respond quickly to a particular priority, in this case poverty and the growing impact of welfare reform. It has been possible to demonstrate that a public health service has been able to make small but significant contributions to the Anti-Poverty agenda in Salford. The actions delivered through the project were co-produced with the staff who would be carrying out the direct delivery, and as such resulted in a number of practical, deliverable solutions that had the potential to make a real difference to some of our most vulnerable residents. For more information please contact Angela Eden.



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The Good Food Bag

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The Good Food Bag
By Jenni Pocsai, Operations Manager, The Good Food Bag

The Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action Plan (March 2019) calls for local partnerships to set up more food clubs, especially in areas that lack affordable healthy food.  There has been a positive increase since this plan was published and there are now 49 food clubs and pantries where at the time of the report, there were only 30.  Food clubs and pantries help those who are struggling and could end up at crisis point or relying on food banks.

There is a new venture setting out to further help this group of people. The Good Food Bag is a social enterprise partnership between Irwell Valley Homes and One Manchester dedicated to disrupting the food economy, to help those affected by the poverty premium to access good, convenient ingredients to cook great meals at home.   By providing choice with great value, we see a massive benefit for those who may be otherwise at the mercy of convenience foods.

The idea is simple, you can order a recipe kit — classic meals to feed as many or as few people as you wish — via text and pick it up at dedicated collection points close to work or home when it suits you.  We are at the start of a 12-month pilot to see where and how this idea can have the most impact.

The Good Food Bag welcomes a new Operations Manager, Jenni Pocsai.  She comes with a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm as well as a love of great food.  This appointment means we are one step closer to being ready to trade!

The plan is to be trading by March 2020 and we are looking to our partners to help this process along. If you are interested in helping us make The Good Food Bag amazing, please get in touch to let us know where you’d like to see us trading and making a difference to people’s lives.  You can get in touch via our website


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Poverty, Destitution and Explotation

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Understanding the vulnerabilities of people homeless and rough sleeping to modern slavery

Exploitation is an under-reported but inextricable aspect of poverty. Traffickers are professionals at turning vulnerable peoples’ desires for a better life into profit through the most vicious kinds of exploitation. While other elements of extreme poverty have been studied in great detail in the UK and around the world, the links between chronic poverty and exploitation are less well understood.

In the media and in public conversation, trafficking and exploitation are often portrayed as crimes that mostly effect people from outside the UK. Whether recent arrests of the Czech sex trafficking ring in Levenshume and Gorton or the tragedy of the 39 Vietnamese nationals found dead in the back of a Lorry in Essex. What is often missing from the reporting is that in the UK, there are three times more minors exploited from the UK than any other nationality and UK adults are the 4th most frequently exploited demographic. Vulnerability to exploitation does not depend on the country you live in, but on the leverage traffickers can use to control and manipulate people for a profit. With the UK’s social safety net stripped in the wake of austerity since 2010, 14 million people living below the poverty line and 1.5 million destitute across the country, the number of people vulnerable to exploitation is huge.

One of the most vulnerable groups in the UK are people who are homeless or rough sleeping. Despite decreases in the numbers of people with no place of safety in Greater Manchester following the concentrated efforts of housing schemes like A Bed Every Night, the problem remains significant and the number of people who are vulnerable to exploitation remains high. Previous research has demonstrated links between homelessness, rough sleeping and a vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation. The Passage in London 2017 report found that 64% of homelessness organisations have encountered modern slavery. The Modern Slavery Helpline reports that 276 cases connect modern slavery to homelessness. In addition, the links between rough sleeping and a vulnerability to trafficking have been illustrated in numerous case studies.

Specifically, Human Trafficking Foundation and Greater Manchester Combined Authority identified attributes which increase rough sleepers’ vulnerability including:

•  A history of mental health issues
•  Alcohol and drug dependency needs
•  Former asylum seeker status
•  Having no recourse to public funds

Between January and March 2019, STOP THE TRAFFIK circulated a survey aiming to understand the experiences of being targeted for exploitation from people who were rough sleeping, homeless, or accessing homeless services across Greater Manchester. Extensive findings from the survey are presented in a full report.

The survey revealed that out of the 180 respondents:
•  29% had experienced being offered food, accommodation, drugs or alcohol in return for work
•  32% had witnessed or heard of it happening to someone else
•  21% had concerns over how safe or genuine these offers were
•  22% had warned someone, or been warned, not to take job offers from particular people or groups
•  17% had known someone go missing after taking up an offer of work
•  24% had not been paid wages that were promised to them after doing work

The report also includes quotes which viscerally characterise the exploitation taking place in the region every day:

“[People offer food, accommodation, drugs or alcohol to me] all the time – everyone who is rough sleeping gets asked to sex work or prostitute themselves”

“[I was] bullied… for not shoplifting. My feet was burnt down and I was thrown in the canal”

Tom Madden Stop the Traffik for GM Poverty Action

Tom Madden, Community Data Analyst for STOP THE TRAFFIK

Having demonstrated the existence of the problem, STOP THE TRAFFIK and GMCA are collaborating on a second stage of the research and a multi-agency response to the issue. We will build a network of organisations working to support homeless and rough sleeping people across Greater Manchester and collate their understandings of the exploitation occurring in the communities that they support. We will then disseminate this shared learning, through training, awareness campaigns and literature to transform Greater Manchester’s understanding and preventative strategy towards the exploitation to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.

If you would like any more information about the report or would like to get involved in the upcoming preventative projects combatting exploitation in Greater Manchester, please get in touch by email.

More information about STOP THE TRAFFIK


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Growing food for community use

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By Kalwant Gill-Faci

GMPA’s Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action Plan calls for more food to be grown in GM communities, for sharing with people in need across the city region. In this article Kal Gill-Faci shows what can be done with even a relatively small plot of land.

At the launch of the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action plan in March this year, I was volunteering at the charity Pledge and I pledged to continue my work helping homeless people and those suffering food poverty through my allotment in Trafford. This year we took on another half plot which we dedicated 100% for growing exclusively to donate to charities that support those in need.

Kalwant Gill-Faci photo for GM Poverty Action

Kalwant Gill-Faci

The Plot for Poverty (Plot 7F) located at Humphrey Park Allotments in Stretford grows fruit and vegetables exclusively for donations and this year we partnered with the charity Reach out to the Community.

Weekly donations were delivered between mid-June to mid-November to the shop where food parcels are made up and handed out. A women-only hostel also received donations this year. Work on the plot is carried out all year round with the busiest months being February to August. I am ably assisted by my 2 children and my nephew’s son and their contribution has been a massive help!

This is the third year that this work has continued and each year the donations have increased. In addition, we received a grant of approximately £500 from Trafford Housing Trusts’ Social Investment Fund which was used to purchase much needed tools, materials and gardening supplies.

I also collect donations from the wider allotment community at Humphrey Park Allotments for distribution and the result is a car boot load almost every week!

This year we helped to provide an estimated 500+ food parcels during the 5-month period of donations.

I continue to share my work as much as possible through social media and speaking at conferences and events.

For any questions or enquiries about my work please send me an email


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Bite Back 2030

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Bite Back 2030 is building a powerful movement of young people who want everyone to be given the opportunity to be healthy, no matter where we live.

Why? We are all up against a flood of unhealthy food, pouring out from fast food outlets, supermarket shelves and school canteens.  As a result 3.3 million children are overweight and the UK has the worst childhood obesity rates in Western Europe

Bite Back 2030 want to close the floodgates but they believe we need to act now.  They want to stem the tide of unhealthy foods and improve the flow of affordable, healthy options for young people. Bite Back 2030 exists to make sure this happens.

Bite Back video image for GM Poverty ActionBite Back 2030 filmed a social experiment that highlights the deliberate tactics used by the food industry to target young people with unhealthy options.

They also held a launch event with many celebrities and potential influencers attending. Follow their campaign on Facebook and Twitter


About Bite Back:

We are here for young people who want to know the truth about how the food system is designed; how we can redesign it to put young people’s health first; and build a powerful alliance that will help make that redesign a reality.

At the heart of Bite Back 2030 is our Youth Board – a team of passionate teenage activists from across the UK who are campaigning for more opportunities to be healthy – and they would love you to join them!

We want to build a movement of young people who can get the big players in business and government to listen and act on a very important topic – your right to health.

We’ve been shocked at the injustices we’ve discovered so far, so we’ve teamed up with some inspirational people to do something about it.

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Pre-Christmas food collection

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Why does this collection happen now every year?

Christmas is only three weeks away. No doubt many people are looking forward to the festive season, perhaps some days off work, time with close family including excited small children and some treats for everyone.  That is how its supposed to be but for too many people it’s becoming increasingly difficult, with more than ever expected to need to use a food bank.  Data released earlier this year shows April to September 2019 to be the busiest half-year period since the charity opened. During the six months, 823,145 three-day emergency food parcels were given to people in crisis in the UK; more than a third of these (301,653) went to children. This is a 23% increase on the same period in 2018 – the sharpest rate of increase the charity has seen for the past five years.

Record food collection for Stockport food banks

For 3 days at the end of November a team of volunteers from Stockport Foodbank ably supported by corporate volunteers from Astra Zenica and the Co-op Bank Manchester, received food donations from Tesco customers.

Collection at Tesco November 2019 for GM Poverty ActionOver the 3 collecting days, a massive 6800kgs of food was donated, enough food for about 7500 meals which has now replenished the food bank warehouse in time for the ‘Christmas rush’.

Stockport Foodbank Manager, Nigel Tedford, said, “We have been so humbled by the generosity of people particularly at this time of economic uncertainty.  The donations that we have received will help us to meet the increase in food bank demand which we expect at this time of the year and our thanks must be expressed to all the Tesco customers for every tin and every packet.  We hope that this level of generosity was matched all across the country.”

Details about Stockport Foodbank can be obtained from their website or Facebook page.

For more information about the Greater Manchester Food Poverty Alliance please visit this page.


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Every voter counts

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Every voter counts – winning over low income voters
By Frank Soodeen, Deputy Director – External Affairs, Joseph Rowntree Foundation

With a General Election looming, Frank Soodeen from Joseph Rowntree Foundation looks at the importance of low income voters to political parties.

At the start of this election season the Government re-announced that the four- year benefit freeze would come to an end in April of next year. The welcome move will hardly make up for the substantial losses that many households on low incomes endured in the wake of the financial crash and especially since 2015. But the timing of the announcement is significant, signalling that appealing to low income voters is now on the agenda of all the major parties. The contrast with the 2015 election, when the question of taking £12bn out of the social security budget was a major dividing line, could hardly be starker.

So why the difference? There’s been a lot of commentary recently about the extent to which Brexit is shaking up the traditional voting axes – rather than the conventional left-right divisions and class oriented voting preferences analysts argue that the electorate is now polarised between leave and remain; open and closed; and liberal and authoritarian tendencies. We’ll soon see whether any of these hypotheses are right but what is certain is that politicians are recalculating their routes to power.

Recent research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation suggests that the choices of low-income voters will be a key determinant of the eventual outcome. For several years JRF has tried to understand better what the 9.5 million voters living in low-income households think about their lives and prospects. We do this for two reasons. First, to persuade those running the country to pay more attention to the needs and aspirations of this key demographic and second, to guide our own policy and campaigning work.

Our latest report in this strand of work Every voter Counts, took it a step further, quantifying for the first time the extent to which low income voters could swing the election either way. New estimates suggest that there are approximately 9.5 million such voters in Great Britain, and they are voting in greater numbers. Between 2015 and 2017, low-income voter turnout increased by seven percentage points, the first noteworthy rise for 30 years. And, in a recent poll, 59% of low-income voters who had not voted in the 2017 election said they now planned to vote at the next one.

Separately our research partners at Hanbury Strategy developed an original framework for thinking about the next contest based on seat demographics and past elections. Current polling suggests that numerous seats in Scotland, the West Country, and Remain heartlands may change hands. What happens in three distinct types of constituency in England and Wales which Labour currently hold will therefore play a major role in determining the occupant of Number 10 after the next election. Of these 109 seats, 40 have more low-income swing voters than the 2017 majority achieved.

Like everyone else, low-income voters will vote for parties that are nearest to their values and attitudes, and those of the social groups they identify most closely with. These decisions are shaped by personal circumstances, the health of their respective communities, and the experiences and views of friends, families and neighbours. On many questions about how society should be run, low-income voters don’t appear to have a dramatically distinct set of preferences compared with the average voter. But the struggle of living on less than everyone else gives rise to specific considerations around the cost of living, health, and housing especially, with Brexit being important but not that important to this group of voters.

Frank Sodeen - every voter counts article for GM Poverty Action

Frank Soodeen

The striking finding from the research JRF has commissioned is just how disillusioned many people are. Distrust is high, and the current parliamentary fractures are serving to reinforce an existing perception that politics is not working well for people on a low income. Whether it is ‘a country that works for everyone’, ‘for the many not the few’, slogans will need to be backed up by reality if the voter coalitions assembled for this election are to hold.

The full report is available here


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Kellogg’s Breakfast Clubs

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Last chance for Greater Manchester school breakfast clubs to get £1000

Kellogg’s has been supporting school breakfast clubs in the UK since 1998. The growth and success of these clubs
is a testament to the benefits they bring including attendance, attainment, alleviating hunger and providing
pre-school care.

We offer grants of £1000 and the funding can be spent on anything that help schools provide breakfast, whether that’s crockery, cutlery, arts and crafts, books or food.

The funding window is about to close so apply by the end of November 2019. All you need to do is visit the Kellogg’s website here and go to the grants for schools section to fill in a short application form. This only takes a maximum of ten minutes.

The Kellogg’s Breakfast Club team


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Healthy Holiday Voucher Scheme

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by Kenny Flint, Health Improvement Service, Salford City Council

GMPA’s Greater Manchester Food Poverty Action Plan calls for boroughs to support and coordinate provision of activities with food during school holidays, and we are pleased to share stories and good practice such as Salford’s Healthy Holiday Voucher Scheme.

Salford City Council delivered a food voucher scheme during July and August 2019, to offer help and support for some of the most vulnerable families in Salford who access the current system of free school meals. This was developed to complement the existing programmes of summer play schemes and Save for Summer, which were delivered by Salford Community Leisure, Integrated Youth Support, Life Centre, VCSE’s and other partners. The Healthy Holiday Voucher Scheme was funded by the Health Improvement Service, Salford Assist and the Booth Charity.

The issue of ‘Holiday Hunger’ has been significantly increasing in recent years with many charities reporting that the pressure on food banks has doubled during school holidays. Children who would usually be entitled to free school meals cannot access them during the holidays. There is evidence to suggest that many children are regularly skipping meals, which has a detrimental impact upon their behaviour and cognitive development. Many families in Salford are forced to face the choice of heating their home or feeding their children.

Families who met certain criteria were provided with an ALDI voucher equating to an additional £30 per child, to help during the 6 weeks of the summer holidays. ALDI was the chosen supplier as the organisation has an existing agreement with the company via Salford Assist, Salford’s local welfare assistance scheme

We contacted eligible parents via school communication systems and social media, and required completion of an application form and an eligibility assessment conducted by the Health Improvement Service. After this assessment, the parent and most accessible neighbourhood Gateway were notified of the successful application and given a unique ID number. Upon production of the unique ID number and a form of ID at the chosen Gateway, the parent was then issued with the vouchers. Over 70% of residents found the application process for the scheme ‘Very Easy’ to complete and just under 70% found it ‘Very Easy’ to collect the vouchers. Some of the feedback can be viewed below.

I found the scheme very easy and of course every little helps with hungry mouths to feed so thank you.”

“It helped me and my family out massively, thank you. Due to my household being on a low income, buying food is a struggle, especially in the school holidays. So this was very much appreciated by family.”

“Single mum of two teen daughters on ESA so massively helped with the grocery shop during the school holidays as the girls want to snack and eat more when home all day. Enabled me to buy extra fruit and keep freezer stocked up. Thank you for the support during this time very much appreciated.”

“I think this scheme has been very helpful! You don’t realise how much extra shopping you need for children when they are not in school. I would definitely apply again if I got the chance to. Thank you also for providing this service.”

“Just helps people who are on low income and not only on low income but the way everything’s going up it makes life a little better to be offered help, I’m in the middle of moving too and it’s help me a lot to buy food for the children.”

“Being a single mum of 2 and struggling at the best of times. This really helped feed the extra hungry pair all day and night whilst still leaving me with money to be able to take them out to have fun.”

“Bought activity sets as well as lunch for my 5 year old with ASD. Keeps him happy in the afternoons on rainy days.”

Kenny Flint healthy holiday vouchers for GM Poverty Action

Kenny Flint

Recommendations given to streamline the scheme were to review the process of assessing eligibility to ensure it is quicker and more accurate. This would include greater clarity on the eligibility criteria in relation to Salford residency, or attending a Salford school. Similarly, greater clarity in relation to children attending nursery, such as an Excel formula to quickly calculate from a date of birth if someone is eligible. This could be achieved by creating a bespoke database.

As of September 2019, during the 8-week period there were just over 2,100 applications to the Healthy Holiday Scheme, resulting in a total of 3,667 children being supported. This is 42% of all the children in Salford who are eligible for free school meals. Salford City Council would like to continue the scheme next year.

More information about the Healthy Holiday Voucher scheme



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UC & in-work conditionality

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Universal Credit and In-Work Conditionality – the employers view
by Katy Jones, Centre for Decent Work and Productivity, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Universal Credit – the new working age benefit for people who are unemployed or on a low income – potentially involves the introduction of “in-work conditionality” (IWC), placing responsibilities on individual claimants to increase their earnings (e.g. through increasing their hours/earnings in their current place of work or by taking up additional or alternative jobs elsewhere). These expectations may be backed up by support (e.g. through advice from Jobcentre staff), but also by benefit sanctions if individuals do not comply with mandatory work-related requirements.

Whist additional support for low-income workers is welcome, the extension of IWC (and sanctions) to those in work is controversial. Research focusing on claimant experiences has raised questions about the extent to which IWC results in meaningful in-work progression, and has uncovered the counterproductive consequences of a sanctions-based approach focused on requirements to apply for a high volume of jobs. Furthermore, employers are key to outcomes arising from such policies, but they have been largely absent from policy discussions. Our project (briefing note and full report), supported by PIN, begins to fill this gap, through consulting with 12 businesses operating in Greater Manchester.

The employers sampled offered a range of roles and contract types – some offered mainly full-time positions, others offered mainly part-time roles but required staff to take on additional work as required, some employed staff on zero hours contracts. Regarding expectations for employees to progress within their firm, employers said that this was something they would consider, however that the capacity for this varied, and weak consumer demand could make offering more hours difficult. Ultimately, their ‘bottom line’ would have more sway over expectations placed on staff, and there was widespread reluctance to increase wages due to perception that this would impact negatively on profits. Furthermore, employing staff on a part-time, flexible basis was central to existing business models:

We wouldn’t want to have every single person on a full-time contract. We’d still need some flexibility to
fluctuate with the demands of business levels”
(Employer 11, hotel)

Employers felt that the impact of IWC would depend on a range of factors including business needs, worker responses, and the approach taken (i.e. whether a supportive/sanctions-based approach, and the nature of support). There was a concern that IWC may be a hindrance to workforce flexibility and that it might adversely impact on staff motivation and well-being:

“[It’s] simple, happy team, happy guests…If we have a team who’s burdened with all these headaches,
then of course that’s going to impact on our quality, productivity”
(Employer 5, hotel)

Katy Jones MMU for GM Poverty Action

Katy Jones

Employers also felt IWC could increase recruitment costs for businesses – not only due to increased turnover, but also if more applications were made by others subject to it. Interviewees complained about the high costs associated with dealing with a high volume of applications, which they felt in part resulted from the existing emphasis of Jobcentres on requiring jobseekers to focus on the quantity, rather the quality of applications and job fit.

In addition, some employers felt that policymakers should focus more on employer practices, rather than solely on claimants. Supporting employers to be better businesses was felt to be more likely to have a positive impact on both individual progression opportunities and firm performance:

It would be probably more beneficial for the government to help employers become better employers, and to make the workplace a more positive environment than it is to push employees to get more jobs” (Employer 10, soft play centre)

Our project has highlighted a number of important issues which policymakers should consider as their ‘in-work offer’ is developed. Importantly, a ‘work first, then work more’ approach, focused on placing conditions on individual workers fails to consider long-standing issues of poor work quality and management practices, and appears to be at odds with the nature of the UK labour market, and broader policy agendas focused on improving productivity and work quality.

More information about the Centre for Decent Work and Productivity


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